Today I want to have a fun discussion about tactics. It’s not something that only works on the battlefield; it’s essential in just about every aspect of our lives. And it’s relative to two events from Tuesday evening.
Last night I got back from speaking at an event on the campus of Texas Christian University. The program was sponsored by the Young America’s Foundation and the topic was “Radical Islamic Terrorism and National Security.” I took the liberty, based on recent events, to broaden the topic to discuss the current 21st century battlefield with the challenges of state vs. non-state actors and their belligerence. I wanted to provide an analysis and discuss strategic level policy decisions that would enable us to defeat these very pressing threats. I found out there was a group in attendance sponsored by the Muslim Student Association that tried to have the event cancelled.
This is a very serious issue in that we have college campuses, which are no longer institutions of learning and education through the free exchange and debate of ideas. We have institutions of higher learning where it appears fascism is taking deep root. The good thing is, the event went on, but the group, wearing their “Coexist” t-shirts, were in the audience. What was comical was that they paid not a lick of attention to the issues and policy solutions presented. But as soon as the question and answer portion began, they lined up with their pre-printed sheets. And oh boy, was I ever excited.
I found a true lack of ability to critically think; instead just an inane robotic repetition and regurgitation of talking points. The most humorous comment was when a kid who said he was from Saudi Arabia told me I didn’t understand the meaning of “jihad.” That chucklehead gave me a really good internal belly laugh, especially as I responded that “jihad” is why they were shooting at me when I was in Iraq. It’s what Osama bin Laden and ISIS called for. And of course, one of these misguided kids tried to convey to me that ISIS wasn’t Muslim or Islamic — guess those fellas are Methodist or Presbyterian. We’ve heard that one before.
I do so love going to college campuses and supporting these great young conservatives who are operating behind ideological enemy lines. But, it’s all about being prepared, reading Rules for Radicals and going on offense. It’s about using the right tactics in order to win the debate and send the little junior progressive socialists home confused, bewildered and embarrassed.So, as soon as I got home I learned about the results of the New York presidential primary — talking about tactics. I kinda have to believe the 15-point loss for Senator Bernie Sanders may just have been a silver bullet, the wooden stake. Is it over? Nah, but the situation is even more dire for Sanders. The problem is that he had to keep the contest close in the area of pledged delegates, because he was never going to win the Democrat “super-delegates.” The question now is what tactics can Hillary Clinton use to win over those rabid Sanders supporters?
On the GOP side, well, it appears that Donald Trump, with 60 percent has won 89 delegates. That’s what will be talked about all day today. But, I want to keep the post-primary discussion on the topic of tactics.
I want to congratulate Donald Trump on using a form of offensive maneuver tactic called the “turning movement.” Here was Donald Trump coming off the loss of Wisconsin followed by states such as Colorado and Wyoming, and what did he do? Simple, Trump redefined the narrative and turned everyone.
You see, the objective of the turning movement isn’t to attack your enemy directly in their strongest position. It’s about attacking elsewhere and forcing – turning — your adversary out of their position and forcing them to fight at a place and time and on terrain of your choosing. What Trump has done is truly masterful – although I’m not sure he knew he was doing it – other than whining.
Trump has attacked the primary electoral system, knowing he should have known the rules and systems of all 50 states before he started. However, he’s brought to light the delegate system which up to this point in American presidential politics, most folks hadn’t noticed.
Now, all of a sudden, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus is constantly having to explain rules, in specifics, and defend the system. We have everyday Americans challenging whether or not their votes count and asking who are these “delegates.” And this is coming from the GOP frontrunner! Trump has completely “turned” the entire system on its head and has even caused some RNC officials to throw out the number of 1,100 delegates as being, well, good enough.
And having the GOP Senate Majority Leader, Sen. Mitch McConnell, stating that the delegates should decide who gets the GOP nomination only throws gasoline on a very hot fire. Even a Fox News exit poll question asked, “How should the nominee be decided”…based on no one reaching the 1,237 majority delegate number. The response was simple: by the most votes.
So, what happens if Donald Trump doesn’t reach 1,237 but by far has the most votes and biggest tally of delegates? First, if we soon reach the point where Senator Ted Cruz is mathematically eliminated from achieving 1,237 – which could come next week — it will be hard to tell all these millions of GOP primary voters they do not count.
You see, just the same as being able to know the environment in which I found myself Tuesday evening at TCU, and develop the right tactics, Donald Trump, even after realizing he didn’t have the right structure and was getting beat at the “art of the deal” — he turned the entire narrative on its head.
The question now becomes, can Donald Trump actually make the adjustment and become a statesman and address the issue of “how?” No one is looking for him to become a policy wonk but he MUST demonstrate an ability to present cogent policy positions and win the debate of ideas. There can be no debate that Trump has outmaneuvered the GOP establishment and elites and the hopes of Cruz, and certainly Gov. John Kasich are fading — well in the case of the latter, gone.
All this reminds me of that great quote from retired Marine 1SGT Jim Reifinger: “If you ever find yourself in a fair fight, it’s all because your tactics suck.”